The Lord’s Meal

My translation of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 below:

“I do not honor you in relation to the instructions I gave you about the Lord’s Meal. You do not gather for the best reasons. You gather poorly. My primary concern is that I hear that there are divisions among you when you get together. And I believe you truly are divided into cliques. If the wealthy are showing off their wealth, then it would inevitably lead to factions in your group. Currently, when you all get together in one place it is not to eat the Lord’s meal. You can tell because each person prepares their own meal to eat before you get together. Then, one person shows up to the group starving and another person shows up stuffed and drunk. Don’t you have several places to meet and to eat and drink together? Do you even value the gathering of God’s people together? Are you ok with disappointing those who have no food? What should I tell you? Should I honor you for this? I do not honor you for this!

Let me explain why the Lord’s meal is so important for you to eat together. I took what I shared with you about the meal right from the Lord. Let me repeat it. On the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a large piece of matzah. Then, after he told God thanks for the bread, he broke the loaf and he said, “This is my body. It is for your sake. Make a practice of eating this bread as a way to share in my own memory -my own experience of my own death.” After they were finished eating the meal, he explained the cup in a similar way as he had done with the bread. “This is the cup. The new covenant is established in you by my blood. Make it a practice that, every time you drink, you share in my memory of shedding my blood.” Here’s the big takeaway: every moment that you are eating this bread or drinking this cup -until he returns- you are preaching a sermon that exegetes the death of Lord.

Because of how significant this is, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord without properly valuing what the moment means will be liable for not properly valuing the actual body and blood of the Lord. The first thing you should do before you eat is to examine yourself. And only then start eating the bread and drinking the cup. Spend time with the meal. Don’t rush through it. Linger. Think about what you are doing and what it means. When you don’t evaluate the meaning of the Lord’s meal carefully, you are swallowing a big gulp of judgment into your own stomach. This mistake has led to many people in your group being weak and sick. Some have even died. This is what it means to be liable for the body and blood. But, if we evaluate carefully the meaning of what we are doing for ourselves, we will not be receive a guilty verdict. We will, though, be trained into maturity as we properly enjoy this meal since we live under the verdict of Christ -“justified.” Being justified we will not receive a verdict of condemnation with the world. Because of how significant this is, my dear family, when you come together wait on each other before you eat. If anyone is hungry, let him eat with you in the house-hold where you meet so that you will not come under condemnation when you come together. For any other issues related to this topic I will give more directions when I come.”

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